I have been playing the oboe for a term now, and I have come across some songs that require me to use dynamics. How do you achieve dynamics on the oboe, and what exercises can you do to master it.


From the way this question was written, I have to ask whether you know what dynamics are. Dynamics are variations in volume: how loud or soft you play. Oboe is a wind instrument; unless I'm mistaken about how an oboe produces sound, one can control the volume of their sound by how hard they blow into the oboe. It will take a fair amount of practice and experimentation, and I'm sure there are other, more technical oboe-specific ways to vary dynamics (start here, maybe?), and we musicians generally ascribe more meaning than just waveform amplitude to the term "dynamics", but at a basic level, that's what dynamics are in music.

A bonus: dynamic markings are usually written as expression text around the staff, in a cursive font. The markings exist on a spectrum from quietest to loudest: pianissimo (pp), piano (p), mezzo-piano (mp), mezzo-forte (mf), forte (f), fortissimo (ff). As you can probably deduce, 'piano' means quiet and 'forte' means loud, 'issimo' means extremely, and 'mezzo' means moderately (these are from Italian). It is possible to have dynamic markings such as ppp or fff (representing pianississimo and fortississimo, respectively) that are just more extreme variants of the above markings. These markings are all relative to each other, and generally do not have absolute volume levels associated with them - the most important information to parse is the change in the volume level of the music over time.

These aren't the only dynamic markings, either, but that's a topic for another day...


  • 1
    Producing dynamics on the oboe is a lot more complicated than "how hard you blow". As I already explained to OP on a comment on another post, learning oboe without a teacher is futile.
    – PiedPiper
    Mar 10 '20 at 23:02
  • Framechallenge all you want, but I'm pretty sure varying airflow is a substantial part of oboe dynamics. How that is to be accomplished is another matter, but OP's post here makes it seem that they might need this explanation of dynamics to be at a less-technical level.
    – user45266
    Mar 10 '20 at 23:17
  • 1
    I know what dynamics are. I just want to learn how to achieve them on the oboe Mar 12 '20 at 16:23
  • @TheMaskedRebel I do have a link in my answer that at least begins to cover that.
    – user45266
    Mar 12 '20 at 20:32

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